January Wrap-Up

Happy February everyone!

Why does January always feel so long? As a teacher, I feel like September, January, and April always feel extra long.

It wasn’t the best month, but I did manage to read a few really great books! While I didn’t read a lot, the books I did manage to read I rated really highly. And I think they all stand a chance at possibly being some of my favorite books of the year! We’ll have to wait and see, but they’re definitely strong contenders!

I was busier than expected this month, so I didn’t get a lot of time to read from my own personal library this month (I mostly listened to audiobooks). However, I’m confident that February is going to be a better month for this! I like to theme my reading in February around Black History Month, and I have several books on my bookshelves that I’m really excited about and determined to get to this month.

Without further ado, here is my wrap-up of all the books I read in January:

To learn more about a book, click on the photo to find the Goodreads synopsis.

Stats and Overall Thoughts:

Books read: 4
Physical books: 1
(Books that I physically own: 0)
Audiobooks: 3

Fiction: 3
Nonfiction: 1
(Long books: 1)

Average monthly rating: 4.75
Top Book of January: Project Hail Mary

*To learn more about a book, click on the photo to find the Goodreads synopsis.

5-star books:

  • Beyond the Wand: The Magic and Mayhem of Growing Up a Wizard by Tom Felton (Memoir, Audiobook)
    • I originally wasn’t planning on reading this one, but after it was released I heard so many good things about it! And then while I was traveling over winter break, Harry Potter came on the TV in our hotel room and it came on TV again when we got home from our trip. I decided to take this coincidence as a sign that it was time for me to read this memoir! My biggest concern before reading it was that it would come off as self-aggrandizing or self-important, but I was pleasantly surprised at how grounded and lovely this book was. It had great behind-the-scenes stories about the making of Harry Potter. But my favorite part was just learning about Felton, his family, and how the life-changing experience of making Harry Potter has affected his post-Harry Potter life. It was vulnerable and excellently narrated by Tom Felton himself. He’s a great storyteller, and after reading his life story I can’t help but wish him so much health, success (of whatever variety), and happiness.
  • The War I Finally Won by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley (Historical Fiction, Middle Grade, Hardcover)
    • Normally when I read the first book in a middle grade series, even if I like it, I don’t read the sequels. However, with this one, I am so glad I decided to read the sequel to The War That Saved My Life! I absolutely adored the first one (my review here), and somehow, against all odds, I think I loved the second book just as much. It’s beautiful and the themes are so emotionally resonant, I actually teared up several times as I reached the end (and I rarely cry at books or movies). This may be a middle grade novel, but it’s one that I would recommend to readers of all ages. It’s that good. Review coming soon!
  • Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir (Science Fiction, Audiobook)
    • I had heard such good things about this book, and it definitely lived up to the hype! I was so thoroughly entertained by this. While there weren’t very many characters, I really enjoyed the ones that we did get to know. And while I saw some of the twists and turns coming, I still loved how many there were as it kept me really engaged the whole time (which might be difficult to do considering it’s about a man’s solitary journey through space). I also really liked the ending. I read some other reviews saying it was corny, but I couldn’t really imagine any other ending working as well. It reminded me a lot of The Martian, which I also loved! I read some reviews complaining about this as well (that it was too similar, especially the main characters), but I don’t mind that. You’re supposed to write what you know, right? And Weir is really good at writing nerdy, witty, sarcastic main characters. The writing style made me laugh out loud several times, and I felt emotionally invested in the main characters and what they were trying to accomplish. I highly recommend this one!

4-star books:

  • Our Wives Under the Sea by Julia Armfield (Literary Fiction, Audiobook)
    • I definitely wasn’t in the right place mentally to listen to this, but I still really enjoyed it! It’s weird, but also lyrical and beautiful and thought-provoking. You definitely need to be in the mood for something more character- or theme-driven (rather than plot-driven), but if you go into it knowing that it’s a quietly powerful story about grief and relationships, then I think you’ll be more likely to enjoy it. I would also recommend reading a physical copy of this rather than listening to it (like I did), as there’s some really beautiful language that’s difficult to really appreciate in an audio format. I’ll probably have more thoughts on this later, but I literally finished this this morning (January 31st) – just in time for this wrap-up! And it’s definitely one that’s going to require more time for me to process and reflect on.

How did your reading go in January? Any stand-out books to recommend?

Let me know in the comments! And thanks for reading (my blog, but also just in general)!

2 thoughts on “January Wrap-Up

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